Martial arts genius Jet Li explodes onto the screen with an intensity not seen since Bruce Lee. "Kiss of the Dragon" is not merely a thriller but a shocker. (San Francisco Chronicle) China's top secret agent visits Paris ... more »on a pleasure trip only to encounter government espionage at the highest level. "Li's action sequences are like an oil fire, spilling from one room into the next and lighing up in the interiors with heat and wreakage"! (The New York Times)« less
Matthew W. (Metryq) from BOYLSTON, MA Reviewed on 8/5/2010...
Luc Besson lives in a very strange world where the bad guy can run all over a city doing any loud, vile, and gangsterish act he wishes without attracting any attention at all. Meanwhile the hero cannot approach a train station locker without catching the evil eye from a handful of official types. Granted, the hero does walk into a hospital later carrying an unconscious hooker with a gunshot wound, and everything is taken care of without any complicated red tape. So pretty much anything goes.
It is always a pleasure to see Jet Li in action. The scene where he walks into a martial arts class full of "bad guys" is like the dog pile scene in MATRIX RELOADED, only the special effects here are all Jet Li.
And I've gotta ask: Is every martial arts film a spin-off of Bruce Lee? "You kill my uncle! Why?Why?Why?Why?" I guess being an uncle is always a "red shirt" job.
Li shines and Fonda is wishy washy
alluringshadows | MA, USA | 07/09/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a must-see film for Jet Li fans! It's a fast paced action movie with quite a few good fighting scenes. Li was very enjoyable, and his English as well as his acting have greatly improved. This movie was mostly wire-free which was wonderful. It was nice to see stunts and fights where the action was believable.This movie is not for the faint-hearted though. The action is very violent, and the martial arts are very hard-style as opposed to a softer traditional Kung Fu. Li's use of 'anything lying about that looks dangerous' to dispatch the bad guys often leaves you cringing and almost feeling their pain. Definitally not a movie for children.Li plays a cold-blooded cop who doesn't mind killing the bad guys as he goes. Bridget Fonda is a washed up prostitute with bad lines and no spirit. She's really the worst thing in this movie, don't buy it just for her.The plot was often hard to follow and they really tried too hard to have character development, but the movie is all together pretty cool. This is also a movie that is cinemagraphically pleasing to watch. I highly recommend owning it on DVD!"
Li and Fonda shine in this plot-driven action thriller
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 10/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I find myself finally indulging my long-nascent love for martial arts movies, and this road has taken me rather directly from Bruce Lee and the Bruceploitation films of the 70s and early 80s to Jet Li, whom I consider to be the most worthy successor to Bruce Lee working today. I won't even compare him to the Dragon because he is definitely his own man, one steeply trained in both the physical and philosophical ways of the martial arts. He has a compact yet powerful, no-nonsense approach to his fight scenes, and what you get is pretty much the real deal - no invisible cables, no stuntman, no fakery, and most importantly no cheesiness. Kiss of the Dragon is my first Jet Li film, and I am glad to say that I was in no way disappointed. There may not be as much fighting in this film as you might find elsewhere, but this is by no means a bad thing. This film revolves around the story and main characters, and the forging of such a strong plot- makes the fight scenes, when they come, all the more enjoyable. Long gone are the days when martial arts movies had weak or nonexistent plots serving no other purpose than to move the film from one fight to the next.Kiss of the Dragon is set in France, which is not your typical setting for kung fu action. Jet Li plays a Chinese cop named Liu Jian, one of China's best, sent to France to help the authorities there nab a Chinese drug dealer. The expected drug bust goes as far removed from planned as can be (at least from Liu Jian's point of view). The whole thing was a set-up by the French police chief (played to the despicable max by Tcheky Karyo), leaving Liu Juan on the run and accused of murder. Liu Juan must evade the authorities and somehow get the proof he needs to put the real bad guy away. Bridget Fonda, an actress I have admired for some time, is wonderful in the role of Jessica, a sort-of witness to the initial murders and reluctant cohort to Richard. She is a reluctant prostitute whom Richard keeps under his thumb; he has her daughter, so her options in life are quite limited - until she eventually meets up with Liu Jian, that is. It is at this point we see the moving humanity that lies beneath the bedraggled, desperately hopeless prostitute that Jessica has been forced to become. Liu Jian vows to get her daughter back, and you can pretty much rely on the fact that he will have one more chance to tell Richard face-to-face not to call him "Johnny."There are a lot of action sequences in this film, all of which are quite good, but these only complement rather than subsume the gripping movement of this story. Jet Li takes on all comers, including a room full of police cadets, making use of his hands, feet, and mind along with any helpful props that he finds readily available. I particularly enjoyed the scene wherein he beat up a few corrupt French authorities with the French flag - I could watch that all day. It was also nice to see several bad guys attack him at once, rather than patiently waiting for each other to be taken out one by one. The final confrontation may have the look of letdown at first, but the viewer is soon rewarded with a rather gruesome and certainly deserved downfall of a thoroughly disgusting fellow. It is here that you will discover the significance of the movie's title. I could not help but wonder at the lack of reaction to all the mayhem by innocent standers-by, however. These guys basically shoot up half of France, turning a fancy hotel into a war zone, battling it out on tops of boats and buses, blowing up buildings, etc., yet there was no observable sense of panic or sound of mind-shattering screams coming from the significant population slated to become collateral damage statistics. The DVD comes absolutely loaded with extras. You get a commentary by Jet Li, Bridget Fonda, and director Chris Nahon, a featurette on the making of the movie, a fascinating exploration by Jet Li of his martial arts style, background, and philosophy, a look at the choreography (including a few preparatory demos) of the action sequences with Jet Li and fight choreographer Cory Yuen, a theatrical trailer and half dozen TV spots for the film, and a couple of storyboard to film comparisons. Jet Li is the best martial arts actor working today, and Kiss of the Dragon has everything a good film of this type needs: a great story, characters you really come to care about, terrific action sequences, and a quite satisfying ending."
KDA | Minnesota | 02/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the movie that turned me onto Jet Li. Still to this day, I say this is his best movie. Jet has done around 30 films, mostly overseas, but none have displayed the perfect combination of story and action. Jet's remake of Bruce Lee's "Fist of Fury" ("Fist of Legend") has superb straightforward martial arts, but the story pales in comparison to "Kiss." "My Father Is A Hero" had a nice story, but it could have used a few more fight scenes to spruce it up, plus the main villain was cheesy sporting a pair of sunglasses. The recent "Hero" (Not the "Father is my Hero"), well...was beautiful, but was more of an art/fantasy film. "Kiss" is raw and a "heavy-subtle" that balances nicely.
The fight scenes are incredible and full of impact. The story, which carries a very dark tone, never lags. You really feel a sense of hatred towards the main villain and feel for the prostitute. Finally, a martial arts movie where the story isn't ridiculous. There are occasional exaggerated scenes, but in all honesty, they gel well with the flow.
When anyone asks for an action film, I always have recommended this. I also warn them that this action film contains a plot...so don't be surprised. There are not many films out there that pull this off...the one other one that really stands out at the moment is the "Bourne Identity." Only "Kiss" has more martial arts. Love it!
WOW, a martial arts movie without wire-works
S E R I K O N | CA United States | 12/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I decided to see this movie when it came out expecting to see what I saw in the usual Jet Li movies, wire-works (some of you kung-fu movie watchers know what I am talking about, but if you don't, wire-works is when the actor or stunt man is suspended in air or swinging on a cable performing unusual fighting moves). Wire-works are cute, but I do not like them because they are slow and take me away from the action most of the time. This movie HAS NO WIRE WORKS in the action sequences. I was so happy, finally a martial arts movie for the new millennium not caught into the new-old trend to hit Hollywood. The martial arts scenes are fast, rough, brutal, and are simply what Bruce Lee fans want to see. There was a fight scene Jet Li had in a dojo that reminded me of Chinese Connection a.k.a. "Fist of Fury".The story was not bad; it was good for a martial arts action movie. Personally I would have made the movie a bit longer (like 10 or 20 minutes) to make sure people know exactly why things are going on. Its workable but would have been perfect with a little bit of information. The big one in the beginning such as the French investigator and the Chinese drug boss, the movie doesn't tell you their connection exactly but it's implied.Li is an overly devoted cop, so he doesn't have much to work with until he meets Fonda's character, there his character is not just doing the job but being a character. Fonda's character used to be addicted to drugs and is a forced-to-be prostitute. So her reactions were pretty not bad for Fonda's acting and I thought she did a good job for her given character.The score is done by Craig Armstrong (from Massive Attack), which is cool of techno/orchestra. Also there are some hip-hop songs thrown in two of the fight scenes. The one by Mystikal was bearable because of the drum beat (not a bass electronic beat) so it felt OK. Personally I don't like rap in fight scenes cause the talking (rapping) might take it away. I like rap in the background or to set a scene, not in a fight scene, unless it is instrumental."
Jet Li RULES!!!
nancyfromthebronx | USA BABY!!! | 07/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read so many bad reviews on this movie I was actually afraid to go see it. But of course I did, and guess what? Those lousy reviewers are wrong again. This movie rules! Liu Juian a.k.a Johnny, is a cop sent from Beijing to Paris on an assignment he doesn't know about. When the people he came to help turn against him and frame him for a murder he didn't commit, he and Jessica (Bridget Fonda) a prostitute, who has been abused by those mean people, team up to go against the traitors. This movie was the best movie I have seen in the theaters this year. Being a Jet Li fan, I waited months for this movie to come out, and now that I've seen it (Twice) The waiting was deffinitly worthwhile. Jet Li and Bridget Fonda look so cute together! The scenes where they are together light up the screen. I am so buying this movie when it comes out on video (Too bad I have to wait so long for it to come out on video) The action was good, the story was good, Jet looked good, the whole movie rocked!!"